Space Studies distance graduate student Brian Shiro has just landed back on Earth after having spent two weeks at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. He served as commander to crew of six would-be space explorers living and working together in the cramped quarters of the MDRS facility. They were the 89th MDRS expedition since its founding by The Mars Society in 2002.
During their mission, Brian and his crew successfully completed twenty extra-vehicular activities (EVAs) in support of research projects that spanned radio astronomy, extremophile biology, seismic geophysics, geologic mapping, EVA operations, and pure exploration. Brian logged 25 hours, 2 minutes of suit time on 11 EVAa covering 80.5 kilometer during the mission. Added to his previous FMARS mission last summer, he can now boast nearly 54 hours of experience on 20 EVAs spanning 160 kilometers.
Brian led two EVAs to complete a seismic refraction profile to image a putative buried inverted channel seen in previous ground penetrating radar data collected by NASA Ames. He also collaborated with UND's Pablo De Leon on a study to gauge knee fabric abrasion with prototype NDX-2 Mars space suit fabric developed by the UND Space Suit Laboratory.
Throughout the mission, Crew 89 maintained a vibrant, active public presence via a dynamic website that include daily blog posts, Twitter updates, YouTube videos, and a Facebook group. The website also included summary maps and links to georeferenced photos for all EVAs . Although the mission is now over, the crew will continue to post updates as they analyze and present results from their MDRS research endeavors. Please follow the adventure here.